Bursa Malaysia extended its downtrend to mid-day, in line with the performance of most regional peers, with investors cautious ahead of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting which ends tomorrow.
It will throw much needed light on future monetary policy tightening.
At 12.30 pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) was 23.57 points weaker at 1,846.80 from 1,870.37 at close on Monday.
The market was closed on Tuesday for Labour Day.
After opening 10.91 points lower at 1,859.46 this morning, the FBM KLCI index moved between 1,842.56 and 1,860.82 throughout the session.
Market breadth was negative with losers outpacing gainers 573 to 175, while 294 counters remained unchanged, 813 untraded and 16 others suspended.
Volume stood at 1.1 billion units valued at RM933.03 million.
Stephen Innes, Head of Trading in Asia-Pacific for Singapore-headquartered Oanda, said investors were keeping their eye open for clues on the future pace of the US monetary tightening, which will likely affect stock markets globally.
“In addition to focusing on the Fed’s policy statement, equity investors may be turning cautious on the outlook for corporate profits, given potential cost pressures from recent rises in oil prices,”he said.
Innes also forecast the Fed to hold interest rates for the May FOMC meeting, but will likely encourage expectations that it will lift borrowing costs in June, on the back of rising inflation and low unemployment.
The rates currently stand at a target range of 1.50-1.75 per cent. The committee last raised rates in March.
Among heavyweights, Maybank fell four sen to RM10.74, Public Bank decreased two sen to RM23.78, Petronas Chemicals inched down four sen to RM8.41, while Tenaga was flat at RM15.84.
For actives, Sumatec fell two sen to 4.5 sen, Borneo Oil inched down half-a-sen to 8.5 sen, while both Sapura and Nexgram were flat each at 64 sen and 6.5 sen respectively.
The FBM Emas Index declined 155.38 points to 12,878.31, the FBMT 100 Index dropped 155.69 points to 12,696.48 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index slid 167.19 points to 13,001.95, as the FBM 70 shed 165.64 points to 15,287.35.The FBM Ace was 94.16 points weaker at 5,191.36.
Sector-wise, the Finance Index eased 198.78 points to 18,163.61, the Industrial Index gave up 50.36 points to 3,176.05, while the Plantation Index fell 74.46 points to 7,901.38.